I was trying to think of a clever title for this post, but realized it has been awhile since my last post, therefore I am just going to spill out all of my latest thoughts and memories without any type of cohesion. No themed post equals no clever title. My blogging best friend, Zack, once told me that when you have a lot of random things to blog about, a list format makes it easier. So here I am, heeding his advice.
1. Ramadan- began last week, which has given me the opportunity to learn more about the Muslim religion. I work with a girl who is Muslim, and a few of the girls at the school are as well, so they are fasting during the days. At school I feel like we are always eating, so whenever I see the Muslim girls skip the meal line and head toward the library, I am honestly impressed with their discipline. I get very cranky when I am hungry, and I am a young adult, I can't even imagine how I would be as a fasting pre-teen. Also earlier this week I went with the group of Aggies to a predominately Muslim part of the city, where they had had an outdoor festival set up where Muslims could come and break their fast with their family and friends once the sun set. Pretty interesting.
2. Chinese Halloween- also began last week. I don't think that is the technically name for it, but that is basically what I got from the talk my host dad and I had about it. Basically, the Chinese believe that the gates of Hell have been opened up and people who are currently living must burn incense, candles and paper as a means of reaching them. I am not sure why they want to be reached,all I know is that these gates, according to the Chinese are open. Last weekend I was walking to Thomson Plaza(a mall near home) and I saw all of these candles burning next to the grass, and then all of this shredded paper behind the flames. My immediate thought was,"someone needs to extinguish that business before we get ourselves a forest fire". Singapore is a HOT county, those uncontrolled flames could not have been safe. Later that night I was driving with my host family and I asked them about the candles I saw, and the dad informed me of the Chinese practice. This event also lasts 40 days, just like Ramadan, but there is no connection between the two.
3. National Day- is on August 9th, which is the day when Singapore became its own country. This year marks Singapore's 46 birthday, so it s a pretty young country. Singapore was under British control since the 1800's, which explains the British English. Once release from Britain's control they were part of Malaysia for two years, until they became their own nation. I will probably do a post about National Day, so I won't go into too much detail, but this country is SO patriotic, even more so than the U.S. I know that is a bold statement, but there is National Day stuff EVERYWHERE. Some cars have even wrapped their side mirrors with images of their flag.
4. Learning to Rumba-This weekend my co workers took me out to Serangoon Country Club to have "farewell" dinner for me. Everyone at the center came, even Auntie Ivey, who is the cook! We had a great meal and then we went up to the lounge/bar area. Selena, who I blogged about previously is 52 and defintitely a big presence in the Singapore social scene. She is a member at the country club which explains how we were able to get in. Up at the lounge there were all of these people in their 40's and 50's dancing the cha-cha,rumba, polka and so forth. They had a Chinese band up on stage singing Chinese songs mixed in with a few American "oldies". It was one of the funniest experiences, I felt so out of place. Selena dragged me to the dance floor and attempted to teach me how to rumba, I was not too good. We did do the twist to the "Happy Days" theme song, and I was pretty good at that redundant motion. The band did randomly played "In my Life", which is my favorite Beatles song, so I would say overall it was a successful evening.
5. Goodbyes- I have less than a week left in Singapore, time flies. Today I realized that I am going to miss it here, it is not so much the country I will miss, but the people in it. I get really sad when I think about saying goodbye to the girls at the school. I have grown rather attached to them, and they keep asking me if I will come back an visit them, and it is a strange feeling knowing that I won't see them again. I have already exchanged contact information with a lot of them, in fact, some of the girls gave me their address so I can invite them to my future wedding(HA). Mei Mei, one of my favorites, lives at the home behind the school. She wrote me one of the sweetest notes on Friday. I walked over to the school to meet up with one of the other teachers so we could go to the country club and I ran into Mei Mei. She ran up to me and asked me if I was going to keep the note she wrote me forever, I nodded and told her I would. I am not ready to say goodbye to these girls! I only have 3 more days of work, seeing as though we get National Day off, and I will be leaving for Malaysia Friday morning.
Sorry for such the random assortment today, I plan on posting a lot this next week, so keep checking back!